DeTroy Williams sat in the driver’s seat of his bus. His guts were growling but no worse than they had growled the day before.
He was lined up behind the last of the decoys that were to head west toward Maricopa, hopefully to pull defenders in that direction. The decoys were running with their lights on while the actual convoy was running "dark", except when they applied their brakes...like when they were waiting.
His bus was at the vanguard of the 4000 odd vehicles that were to penetrate into downtown Los Angeles and to hook up with Cali troops that were holding the Federal buildings. There, they would replenish ammo and receive medical attention.
As the first vehicle in the convoy he was the most likely to be targeted and killed. He had come to accept that fact. Bona-Brown was a spiteful man and had left DeTroy an “officer” so every person entering and leaving his bus would have to stop and salute him. And he, in turn, would have to salute back.
The buses were staged in four columns. Each bus had approximately forty soldiers and an officer sitting immediately behind the driver whose job it was to hand out weapons upon disbarkment. DeTroy’s officer was tipping into shock due to dehydration and would not survive the morning.
The convoy turned onto I-5. At that point I-5 is a divided highway with three northbound and three southbound lanes. The convoy drove down both the north and southbound lanes. The center lanes were reserved for the Godzillas. The Godzillas took the precaution of bracketing themselves between two buses to provide some shielding from the expected artillery.
Visibility was poor but adequate. The moon was nearly full and was just starting to descend. The pale rock was bare of vegetation and reflected the moonlight onto the pavement.
The California Central Valley is alluvial in origin. It is the bottom of ancient lake beds and is notable for its flatness. As one heads south on I-5, the landscape changes from flat to folded.
Flatlands are ideal for armored movement. Defenders are not able to predict enemy movement and cannot concentrate their fire. Flatlands favor the offensive.
Hills favor the defender. The steep slopes and the valleys that fold back on themselves funnel invaders. The multiply wrinkled landscape provides a multitude of firing positions that are shielded from direct counterbattery.
DeTroy knew that the shit was going to hit the fan as soon as I-5 left the flatlands.
He had a panoramic view through his windshield. Time passed in slow motion for him. His bus was slaved to the convoy via WIFI and the convoy was traveling at a precise 80 klicks per hour. He could see the twinkle of shells detonating above I-5 as they approached the cut south of Grapevine. Clearly, the crews were tuning in their positions. And then the twinkling stopped.
DeTroy thought he had escaped unscathed when nothing had happened for the first ten minutes. But then, six klicks south of Grapevine, just after rounding a bend that prevented the rest of the convoy from seeing him, the sky lit up with aerial mortar bursts. One of the shells detonated 150 feet above his bus and slightly in front of it such that he could see it through his windshield.
Lest you forget, DeTroy’s formative years had been shaped by the game of football. DeTroy was a wide receiver which is one of the most exposed positions in the violent game of football.
A skilled quarterback will throw the ball so the receiver must stretch out and catch the ball with just his fingertips. Stretched out, the receiver is vulnerable to injuries due to violent tackles. Even after catching the ball the receiver is vulnerable as every defender in the backfield vectors toward him.
DeTroy learned early on that the best defense was to not be there when the tackler intended to impact. He held back a small reserve of speed for that very situation. The difference between getting slammed to the ground and a glancing tackle and a possible first down was a matter of six inches.